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Webinar #10: The Imposter Syndrome

Updated: Nov 29, 2021

Webinar 10: The Imposter Syndrome Women in Research 'Small Wins' Webinar

To the all women who joined us live, thank you for your active engagement during this reassuring and empowering webinar.

We hope the discussion will inspire you to have more confidence in yourself and help others recognise their talents, hard work and other special attributes.

A very special thank you to ARC Laureate Fellows, Professor Kaarin Antsey (University of New South Wales) and Professor Naomi McClure-Griffiths (Australian National University) who generously shared their experiences with humour and humility.

Some highlights in their talks are summarised below:

Sharon's key points

  1. Help to build diverse, unbiased workplaces

  2. Recognise imposter feelings can be a normal response to stereotypes, bias, etc.

  3. Be aware of how you respond and increase your self-awareness

  4. Develop new ways of talking to yourself and new ‘scripts’. For example, cultivate a learning mindset.

  5. Seek out mentoring, support and connection

  6. Use the imposter cycle to identify ways to break the cycle and create new patterns.

Kaarin's key points:

  1. Imposter syndrome is something that is accentuated by the academic career path, where rejections and failures are common.

  2. Unlike any other professions, researchers do not get short term feedback or reward for their work. This makes researchers very prone to self-doubt and imposter syndrome.

  3. Researchers who come from minority groups and researchers that are juggling research and family life are more vulnerable to imposter syndrome. This is due to having to deal with other people’s biases and expectations against them.

  4. At the end of the day, there is no secret recipe to success. It is important to be realistic about who you are, embracing your diversity and having a good current assessment of yourself.

  5. If you feel that someone is experiencing imposter syndrome, you can help them by re-affirming what their strengths are and reminding them of their past successes.

Naomi's key points:

  1. Keep a list of positive feedback from others and read them before getting through any challenges that you have.

  2. Do not feel discouraged when other people seem to have it all together, but be inspired by the fact that they are able to carry on and do things, the same way that you have.

  3. Never decline a request (e.g. to give a talk) until you feel confident enough that you won't worry about how you are perceived when you do them.

  4. Recognise and conquer the imposter syndrome on smaller things that are not related to your career. This gives you the courage to conquer bigger fears.

  5. Seek people (or environment) who make you feel comfortable and not feel out of place.

Audience question: How do I prevent imposter syndrome from creeping in when I am constantly comparing myself to others whilst trying to sell myself?

  • Naomi: Keep track of your achievements in numbers, highlight the best ones and communicate them clearly.

  • Kaarin: Believe in what you're doing and express the novelty of that in the passion that you have for that work.

  • Sharon: Be prepared to get rejected and keep going. You might need to perhaps shift your strategy but keep on going regardless.

Imposter Syndrome webinar slides
Download PDF • 1.53MB


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